I think this week was my favorite week of class thus far. Ever since I moved to Stillwater I’ve been dying to go to the Botanical Gardens, however, it took me until my last semester of college and a class field trip to actually lead me to go. Although it was a very warm day in Oklahoma, I found the experience to be very fun and rewarding! As soon as my learning community and I started our activity, I wanted to venture around and see what all Botanical Gardens had to offer. It was very interesting to speak to each other about sustainability and different ideas we had for the problems on the worksheet. My favorite part of the activity was definitely walking around and taking pictures of the various required items. From the chickens to the cacti, I was intrigued by it all. I actually want to go back on a day with nicer weather so that I can explore a little more. The whole place was absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed the activity more than I thought I would. In terms to my personal experience with being more sustainable, this field trip opened my eyes to the beauty of nature and how beautiful our Earth is when it’s being taken care of. I also enjoyed the discussions my group had about biomimicry and how we could utilize natural resources to appease every day needs.
Thursday’s Design Slam I activity was at first not something I was looking forward to, if I am being quite honest, however, as we got the ball rolling and our idea kept getting bigger and more exciting, I got really excited about it and our solution. We were asked to create a sustainable idea for energy consumption in buildings. The idea was to also contain a means of educating occupants of their energy use. We came up with a system called Concerge. Concerge is an at-home system that can be placed in existing or new build homes. It monitors the amount of energy being used within a residency and automatically changes the output based on the absence of human activity. It works by monitoring the amount of heat that’s being put off by lights, electricity, and humans and lowers the usage if it detects that no one is home. It is compatible with an app that at the end of each month sends a report to the homeowner showing them both how much energy and money was saved. We believe that having this monthly report would educate occupants about energy consumption. I was very proud of my group’s idea, I think it was a very realistic solution to energy use and education.
Other groups had some great ideas as well. One of them that stood out the most to me was learning community 10. Their idea was the Vortex which was as shoe company that created their tennis shoes out of 100% recycled materials from the trash vortex located in the Pacific Ocean. Although I think it was a stretch to say that you could only purchase one pair of tennis shoes, I like the idea of recycling previously worn shoes to make new models. Another group whose idea I liked was learning community 7. This learning community created a virtual mannequin that would show you how you look in specific clothes without having to actually try anything on. Personally, I just think that is a very cool idea in general, but it is also sustainable by saving materials used.
Both of the activities we did this week challenged us in the way of critically thinking about sustainability. I personally learned a lot from both exercises and enjoyed this week a lot.